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TJX Hacker Claims US Authorized His Crimes

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the one-armed-man dept.

Microsoft 159

doperative writes "Convicted hacker Albert Gonzalez is asking a federal judge to throw out his earlier guilty pleas and lift his record-breaking 20-year prison sentence, on allegations that the government authorized his years-long crime spree. From the article: 'The government has acknowledged that Gonzalez was a key undercover Secret Service informant at the time of the breaches. Now, in a March 24 habeas corpus petition filed in the US District Court in Massachusetts, Gonzalez asserts that the Secret Service authorized him to commit the crimes. “I still believe that I was acting on behalf of the United States Secret Service and that I was authorized and directed to engage in the conduct I committed as part of my assignment to gather intelligence and seek out international cyber criminals,” he wrote. “I now know and understand that I have been used as a scapegoat to cover someone’s mistakes.”'"

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LIAR !! LIAR !! PANTS ON FIRE !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35779996)

Saw a movie about that. Funny as all.

they also showed some peeing in a cup and th (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780540)

they also showed some peeing in a cup and though it on you in prison.

It's illegal... (5, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780004)

It's illegal if the gov't does it too. They can't "authorized" illegal activity, and "following orders" is not a legal defense.

Re:It's illegal... (3, Informative)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780032)

Yes but perhaps his sentence will be taken into consideration considering these new facts (if they are true). That is why these sentences have a range of penalties...

Re:It's illegal... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780084)

Yes but perhaps his sentence will be taken into consideration considering these new facts (if they are true). That is why these sentences have a range of penalties...

Seems like government agents breaking laws like these (theft and fraud) should be subject to harsher penalties. Something's seriously wrong if they get lighter ones.

Re:It's illegal... (5, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780168)

Seems like government agents breaking laws like these (theft and fraud) should be subject to harsher penalties to the people who ordered them.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780978)

Seems like government agents breaking laws like these (theft and fraud) should be subject to harsher penalties to the people who ordered them.

And the offender. If we make it a matter of a soldier (cyber or otherwise) going "Well if you want to take that risk, sir" rather than "Fuck you, sir" - it makes it that much easier for the government to be corrupt. I don't believe the person requisitioning or even making the attempt to requisition such services should be let off the hook at all, on the contrary, I believe they should have the penalty they would receive if they perpetrated a crime simply for requesting it be done, but you can't let the guy off or be more lenient simply because he claims ignorance, I mean he's a hacker for fuck's sake - even the secret service agent ordering him to undertake such activities would be more fitting for a claim of ignorance (not that it should have a response other than being ignored/increasing the penalty simply for the guile) - hackers are intimately familiar with the laws involved - it's why proxies exist.

Re:It's illegal... (2)

Jurily (900488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781252)

If we make it a matter of a soldier (cyber or otherwise) going "Well if you want to take that risk, sir" rather than "Fuck you, sir" - it makes it that much easier for the government to be corrupt.

Keep in mind that those people who casually order you to commit crimes, may also casually order other people to commit crimes against you. I would certainly take this into account when dealing out sentences.

Re:It's illegal... (3, Insightful)

darth dickinson (169021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781562)

Seems like government agents breaking laws like these (theft and fraud) should be subject to harsher penalties. Something's seriously wrong if they get lighter ones.

So, you're saying that narcs should get jail time for buying illegal drugs, in order to catch dealers "in the act"?

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35782052)

Yes, they should. You cant break the law and then fine/jail people for breaking the very same law.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35782170)

Yeah. Simply put. If it's illegal for me to buy drugs no matter the fucking reason - then it's illegal for them to buy drugs no matter the fucking reason.

One law for all people. If that makes it hard to prosecute for something, then maybe we should question whether it's worth suspending the most basic principle of our legal system, purely to catch out a few people?

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35782230)

Yes

Re:It's illegal... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780040)

Yes. Possibly he has accomplices in Government who should also be behind bars but I don't see how that undermines his own conviction.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780178)

Yes. Possibly he has accomplices in Government who should also be behind bars but I don't see how that undermines his own conviction.

Any particular reason for the '-1' on that? Is it really that controversial to suggest that IF he was acting on the instructions of a government agent that that agent should be on trial as an accomplice / instigator?

Re:It's illegal... (0, Offtopic)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780322)

In Capitalist America, government mod -1 YOU!

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35781474)

It undermines his conviction because the jury that did the convicting was unable to consider it in weighing guilt or sentencing.

Re:It's illegal... (5, Interesting)

ComputerGeek01 (1182793) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780092)

Yeah it kind of is, It's called the Nuremburg Defense. It's still illegal but what this guy is saying is that it was is (CO? Handler? I'm not sure of the terminology in this instance) commiting the crime based on the Command Responsibility doctorine.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

itsenrique (846636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780134)

Definitely not a correctional officer, Idk what a Handler is. He's saying it was a federal agent, the equivalent of a detective or higher but federal instead of state, directed him to commit these crimes. Idk.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780234)

CO in this case would be commanding officer...

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780270)

How about case officer?

Re:It's illegal... (1, Redundant)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780582)

How about case officer?

Carbon Monoxide? CO made him do it.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780304)

Well -- when he claims he was being told to go ahead, the actual instruction was to make enough money to pay off a $5000 debt without getting caught.

I'd say that stealing $75,000 is overplaying that authorization a bit.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780530)

Definitely not a correctional officer

The best I have for CO in this context is "Case Officer", but, like the GP ... not sure that is the term used by the parties here.

Re:It's illegal... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780216)

Unless he has documented proof that he was receiving these directions (e-mails, recorded conversations (legally recorded or not), etc.) I think his status declines from "government agent" to "sucker."

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780872)

It is called the Nuremberg defense because it was invoked there, not because it was successful. In fact the the key thing to remember about the Nuremberg defense is that those using it was found guilty anyway, and sentenced to death.

Re:It's illegal... (2)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781764)

From what I can tell, Nuremberg is the only instance where this defense didn't work.

(only very slightly sarcastic here)

Re:It's illegal... (2)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781190)

He may well have a duress defense if he was blackmailed into it with threats of a bigger sentence.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35781634)

The nuremberg defense is so called because it was used in the nuremberg trials post WWII... it was declared invalid then and should be declared invalid now.

Re:It's illegal... (2)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781802)

it was declared invalid then and should be declared invalid now

Right, because torturing and murdering thousands* of people is completely the same thing as what this guy did.

Now I'm not saying that this guy should get off scot-free (I don't have enough evidence to say one way or the other), only that you are a moron.

*Yes, the overall deathtoll was in the millions, but I'm being generous and guessing that any one individual person was only involved with enough people to number in the thousands.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35782202)

Our trial system is in shambles in large part because of people like you. Either the person is guilty or they are not. Declaring that someone is guilty BECAUSE the crime was bad is how innocent people end up in prison or executed. It is a complete failure of logic and reason.

Re:It's illegal... (5, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780126)

I'd be very doubtful unless he has good proof he was working for the government.

the government can do a lot of things and authorize it's agents to do a lot of things which would be illegal otherwise.

For a trivial example:The executioner is not guilty of murder for executing a person sentenced to death.

Police can take someone against their will and lock them up overnight for very flimsy reasons without the same penalties as a kidnapper who does the same thing for the same reasons.(Just try locking up your neighbor in your basement against his will to punish him for being drunk in public and see how it turns out for you)

If someone believes their actions are at the behest of their government it shouldn't be a total defense but intent is important.

Re:It's illegal... (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780262)

I'd be very doubtful unless he has good proof he was working for the government.

According to the article, the government has already admitted that he (Gonzalez) worked for them.

The strange thing about this is that Gonzalez signed a plea bargain and is now trying to break it. I'm not clear on all the details. Maybe it was one of those situations where someone in the government told him: "Plead guilty and we'll get you a suspended sentence and then you can continue to work for us" but then the judge, not wanting to appear weak on a "cyber" criminal, dropped the 20-bomb on him. That's a long bit for a young nerd to do, even someone who played with Russian mobsters.

Again, I'm not clear on the details, but I could see the government playing with a guy's life like that, especially someone who was already breaking the law when he first got involved with the Feds.

Re:It's illegal... (3, Insightful)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780942)

actually the break goes the other way if he was promised a suspended sentence and the Judge gave him a "couple dimes" then the state broke the agreement.

Re:It's illegal... (5, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780444)

I'd be very doubtful unless he has good proof he was working for the government.

Uhm.. the government ALREADY ADMITTED that they were using him as an undercover informant.

One of those things about the word "undercover" is that unless you are participating in what is going on, chances are the people you are trying to inform on will peg you real quick. "Hey, don't talk to that guy, everyone he talks to gets busted by the feds."

The Secret Service is no different than any other law enforcement agency. The dirtiest, most corrupt wing is always "Vice", simply because in order to find the guys they're trying to bust the cops have to get very, very, very dirty themselves. Sometimes they go native [guardian.co.uk] , sometimes they really go native [gawker.com] , sometimes they get really freaking insane [google.com] (more here [rawstory.com] . Sometimes it's even worse. Undercover cops on major mafia infiltration cases have had almost carte blanche to participate in anything that went on, so long as they testified later.

Am I completely convinced he's telling the truth? No. Is it reasonably plausible that someone in the Secret Service gave him verbal instructions to do certain things in order to keep his credibility up so as to set up future busts, but then decided he wasn't worth it and used him as a scapegoat? Absolutely.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780572)

yes you're correct, I only skimmed it before.
It shouldn't be too hard at all to prove if he was actually receiving the 75K pay etc.

His story certainly is plausible though he may have been doing far more than his handlers knew: multiple online identities and all.

Though I would have thought that once you busted someone and had them working for you things such as hardware keyloggers with some hardened hardware and reqirements like only using authorized hardware would be part of the deal to allow auditing to make sure they're only doing what they're told.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780640)

His handler told him to go ahead and clear the debt, "just don't get caught." I think that makes it clear that the Secret Service was telling him that they would not go after him for anything he did, but that they would be unable to protect him from other law enforcement organizations. Of course, the other problem with his use of this defense is that he turned out to be one of the two biggest sources of credit card numbers for the guy they were after (or at least one of the guys they were after). In other words, if not for him, the crime they were using to try and solve would have been much smaller.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781206)

That's called a citizen's arrest.

The problem with not being a cop is strict liability if you fuck it up.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

comm3c (670264) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781248)

I have been close to this case for various reasons, but this dude's exploits were only detected after the card brands detected massive fraud. The Secret Service might have authorized breaches, but I am sure the Secret Service didn't authorize CC fraud or divulging cardholder data to random people for them to commit fraud.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781494)

Pleas allow me to summarize your argument:

The Government is authorized to commit illegal acts A,B,C
Therefore the Government is also authorized to commit illegal acts C,D,F

I'm pretty sure there is a logical fallacy in there somewhere. Unfortunately I'm not well verse enough on the subject matter to name it.

There is a huge difference between publicly carrying out the execution of a convicted criminal and secretly attacking your own people with a computer virus.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780162)

dude, you made a typo. I think you meant its legal if the gov't does it.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

SquirrelDeth (1972694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780202)

How about Guantanamo Bay? The government just says 'but the commander in chief told us to do it', blames a government lawyer for giving bad advice and gets off scott-free.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780242)

Yes, they can't "authorized illegal activity" because that's not a sentence. But they can authorize activity that might otherwise be considered illegal. If you're an informant for the DEA, and they give you a suitcase full of money and tell you to go buy drugs so they can bust the dealer, they can't then turn around and arrest you for buying drugs. Informants often have to get involved in illegal activity, since it's what they inform the police about. This is exactly what Gonzalez is claiming, although he's full of shit.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Hydian (904114) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780248)

The government does things that would be illegal for the average citizen all the time in the process of law enforcement or intelligence gathering. We entrust them with this power and even put in some checks and balances to prevent it from being abused (stop laughing.) By its very nature, having someone go undercover pretty much demands that some illegal activities are committed in order to get the information required to catch the bad actors before they do something worse. The difference here (if we believe Al and honestly it isn't like his story is really out there or anything) is that they were using an outside resource so they could walk away with clean hands.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780338)

Ever been pulled over for speeding by a cop who was not also speeding?

not the same thing as cops / firetrucks to not fal (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780636)

not the same thing as cops / firetrucks / others to not fall under speeding laws when responding and they have training on how to be safe and most speeding is from speed traps / cash cows on roads where a high speed is safe.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

AC-x (735297) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780402)

It could well count as entrapment tho depending on the details of the case.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780488)

Don't be silly. Of course the government can authorize illegal activity [wired.com] . In fact it happens all the time, and we even have an entire theory of the constitutional presidency [youtube.com] which justifies it. Whether they did in this case, though, I don't know.

Re:It's illegal... (2)

microbox (704317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780500)

They can't "authorized" illegal activity, and "following orders" is not a legal defense.

Unless it is illegal warrantless wiretapping, and you are a big telco.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780744)

Undercover cops are allowed to commit illegal, criminal activities in order to "fit in".

Re:It's illegal... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780912)

It's illegal if the gov't does it too. They can't "authorized" illegal activity, and "following orders" is not a legal defense.

Be that as it may, the CIA director has admitted to his department supplying drugs to the LA street gangs. When does this trial begin?
This "cracker" is nothing more than a dupe. Therefore, plausible deniability.

Re:It's illegal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35781318)

It's illegal if the gov't does it too. They can't "authorized" illegal activity, and "following orders" is not a legal defense.

Unless you are AT&T, Verison, Sprint, etc. doing warrentless wiretapping when it was still illegal.

Re:It's illegal... (2)

Seraphim1982 (813899) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781362)

It's only illegal if the law says it's illegal. A lot of the "anti-hacking" laws have provisions that basically say "This law not applicable to Law Enforcement and the US Government". So "It's illegal if the gov't does it too" isn't always true.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781370)

"But doesn't might make right?" chorus G.W. Bush and the leader of China.

Things may be against the law but that doesn't matter if you have somewhere like China where the rule of law takes second place to expedience. We are getting a lot like China where we pretend the rule of law is important but instead act like a medieval King John before Magna Carta. Nobody is supposed to be above the law - not even a President and those who follow him. Nobody is supposed to be below the law - not even some prisoners picked up in a war zone. The last administration really did take a 1000 year backward step and it's going to take a while to recover from that if we want to pretend to have the high moral ground above those without a history of respecting the rule of law.
Of course telling a JUDGE that you think you should be immune to the rule of law is not going to work unless they are dishonest. It's like telling a Judge that their job is irrelevant.

Re:It's illegal... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781426)

You haven't really been following the changes in the legal landscape during the Bush era, have you ?

By your logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35781690)

By your logic, the gov't couldn't use the help that this guy provided them. In court there is inadmissible evidence, when it is obtained illegally. But you're saying feds getcan away with using information that was obtained illegally.

Doing "bad" things for "good" causes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780010)

You'd have to be stupid to think that the cause justifies any and all means. So now that the milk has turned sour don't complain it does not taste so good.

Killing in the name of.

Jury member: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780078)

Yeah, like we've never heard that one before.

Sounds like a novel turned into real life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780104)

Seriously, Dan Brown (or another author who entertains me but has yet to earn my respect) could've written a ridiculous story like this one!

Re:Sounds like a novel turned into real life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780144)

Oh, and in case you're wondering why I don't respect Brown I think he's mastered the art of entertaining his readers but NOT the art of writing a "good on its own" novel. Take away the scandal from the Robert Langdon trilogy and you've got three bland stories (especially the lost symbol!). His past work (deception point and digital fortress) was a little better, but far from excellent.

almighty; rebates, bailouts coming, giving back (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780108)

somehow overlooked in all the hoopla, was/is the unproven uncounted trillions upon trillions of mammons collected through the almighty's chosen ones holycost tithing programs. as this treasure trove of earthly resources could never have all been spent on the highly profitable crusades, or the simple lives lead by god's chosen, & we all know that the big himself doesn't need any ducats, as he has the whole world in his hands.

so, it's tithing (X centuries) back at at ya? administered by... guess who? the only one who is the only one we have,,, here, with us.

it's all in the genuine native american elders rising bird of prey leadership initiative (teepeeleaks etchings).

Re:almighty; rebates, bailouts coming, giving back (3, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780142)

No, you're wrong.

It's the Illuminati bringing back The Old Ones to immanentize the eschaton.

The sarcrifices will begin after midnight, right after the American Medical Association band does its third encore.

--
BMO

Re:almighty; rebates, bailouts coming, giving back (1)

ginbot462 (626023) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780980)

You joke ... but Call of Cthulhu had earthquakes and what-not happening from March 22 to April 2 that were the result of Cthulhu rising.

Re:almighty; rebates, bailouts coming, giving back (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781052)

I've got my reserved ticket to be eaten first.

Neener neener.

--
BMO

Re:almighty; rebates, bailouts coming, giving back (2)

imric (6240) | more than 3 years ago | (#35782060)

Kick out the JAMS!

limited time; 2 eyes for an eye, 2 teeth for 1 etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780158)

this offer cannot last for eternity, so get your spare parts while they can be gotten, or it goes back to even trade.

jesus; my dad is not a murderer, get it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780258)

as a matter of fact, there's no evidence that he, or i even exist, so how we're pulling off this double your parts rebate thing, is even a little mystical.

to unprove once again, if i did exist, & of such perfect breeding, why, in god's name would we want to hurt anyone, or coerce our flock into hurting anyone? chariots? honestly...

does that explain the missing monkey hymens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780502)

yes. thank you

Lawyers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780114)

Wow, if you read the article this gets weirder and weirder.

"Gonzalez’s former attorney, Rene Palomino, disputes assertions that the Secret Service approved Gonzalez’s crimes."

Does being his 'former' attorney mean that client-attorney confidentiality no longer applies? And how the hell does Rene Palomino know the details of whether or what the Secret Service approved of - was he in on it too?

Re:Lawyers (1)

itsenrique (846636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780170)

Lawyers and judges are often cozier than we'd like to imagine. Judges were lawyers. It sounds like if Palomino was Gonzalez's attourey, he must have recused(sic?) himself from the case. My guess is that Palomino didn't want to present what he saw as a ridiculous defence that would probably do Gonzalez more harm than good (by pissing off the judge). Just a guess though.

He's arguing ineffective assistance of counsel (2)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780182)

Essentially saying his attorney F'd up. The attorney has a right to defend himself against false charges of malpractice. Otherwise, every single criminal defense attorney who lost a case could be sued with no defense. I think the theory here is, lawyers have a duty of confidentiality about what they are told, but no such duty about what they weren't told, and no duty to further propagate lies clients tell them. On the contrary, there is a crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege.

IAALBNYLSDROTALA (I Am A Lawyer But Not Your Lawyer So Don't Rely On This As Legal Advice).

Re:He's arguing ineffective assistance of counsel (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780716)

I think the theory here is, lawyers have a duty of confidentiality about what they are told, but no such duty about what they weren't told, and no duty to further propagate lies clients tell them

-"Counselor, did your client ever tell you he was innocent?"

-"Nope"

Lawyers have a duty of confidentiality, period. They cannot reveal, directly or indirectly, what their clients told them. And, except for sworn statements, they can tell lies, if that's in the client's best interests. Obviously, law enforcement people also tell lies, if they think it will help convict the suspect.

It's only on the witness stand that they have the duty to answer every question truthfully, although even there they don't have (are not allowed to) answer what wasn't asked. It's not perjury if you don't volunteer information.

So you're a lawyer now? (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781188)

-"Counselor, did your client ever tell you he was innocent?"

-"Nope"


Cute, but of course, not analogous to claiming, after you've admitted guilt in court, "I told my lawyer about a defense and he didn't use it."

Lawyers do have a right to defend themselves from claims of malpractice, unless you have some new case law I haven't seen that was passed in the last week; I've been pretty busy lately.

Lawyers have a duty of confidentiality, period.

No, it isn't "period." There is a well-settled crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege, in this case, arguably committing a fraud against the court.

Please stop impersonating a lawyer.

Re:Lawyers (1)

alen (225700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780232)

as a rule lawyers cannot introduce false evidence into court. since this is probably a lie the former lawyer can talk about it all he wants.

you can defend your client, but have to do so within the bounds of factual evidence or dispute the government's evidence

Thought he was full of it, until I saw his handler (4, Interesting)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780136)

After seeing the agent in charge of Gonzalez [planetdeusex.com] , now I'm thinking there might be some truth...out there.

Or this agent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35781520)

http://www.inpapasbasement.com/bad-lieutenant/

Re:Thought he was full of it, until I saw his hand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35781742)

Modded interesting??? Come on guys this is funny. It's Mulder's cancer man [imdb.com] .

Ummmm, not buying the bullshit (3, Interesting)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780180)

Sorry, but this sounds really implausible to me. I'd need to see some solid proof before Id' accept this. For one, I can't see what the Secret Service would hope to gain. I mean if they need records for credit card transactions at stores they've got a far easier way to get them: Just subpoena the CC processors. They can have whoever the stores use (companies like Paymentech or the like) hand over all the records. Not only is that legal, but it is also much more covert since the companies themselves are not compromised.

This would be how investigations work. They just get a court order for the people who have the info to hand it over, they don't hire some random guy to try and hack your shit. They get a subpoena or a warrant (depending on what they need, in some cases they might want to monitor traffic live for that they'd have a wiretap warrant) and they go to the people with the info. It's legal, maintains the chain of evidence, and gets much more guaranteed results than hacking.

Also I find it hard to believe that if he really was working under orders from the SS that he wouldn't have told his lawyers and they wouldn't have done something. In my experience federal public defenders aren't morons. It is a good job, they can get good people. I can't imagine if he had opened up with "Guys I didn't think I was doing anything wrong! The Secret Service told me to do this!" they wouldn't have investigated that.

To me, sounds like something he invented in a way to try and get out of jail. I'm not saying it is impossible, but I find it rather beyond credibility.

Re:Ummmm, not buying the bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780250)

I can't see what the Secret Service would hope to gain. I mean if they need records for credit card transactions at stores they've got a far easier way to get them: Just subpoena the CC processors.

The TJX hack was carried out by a group of people. This guy appears to be claiming that he was planted in the group by the government, presumably to collect information on the other members of the group, not CC records.

Re:Ummmm, not buying the bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780348)

Two scenarios are equally very possible. And brings you down to the question, whether you believe this guy or dont - and why.
Gonzales is guilty. It leaves the question, where Gonzales' guilt lies. In having an unbelievable excuse which is a last stupid cry or not just with him alone.

you believe in a very ordered government.

while it is always humans leading it.

which does not mean you don't have a point. since he is also just a human claiming things. we will never know, but what would you do, if a federal agent tells you to do stuff and make you sound important. maybe your belief in an ordered state (as in nation) comes to your rescue, since you don't trust things. but maybe your belief in a chance for adventure will get abused to kick you in the butt as things crumble down. Some people might want to use you, and work for the same government you think so ordered and tactical about.

Tactically this makes you a risky candidat for our program. ^^

Re:Ummmm, not buying the bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780610)

It explains in the story that he was trying to maintain his "cover" and thought that the SS would get him out of the mess. Once he realized he was screwed he started talking.

Re:Ummmm, not buying the bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780756)

Actually you have it backwards. The agents want to understand how the criminals trade the CC data, how they bargain, and what is valuable as "currency", To do this, they authorize one criminal to do what they do normally and then keep tabs on that person. The processors would only be one end of an evidence chain.

Re:Ummmm, not buying the bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35781830)

There was a 10-page NYT article that pretty much described what happened. It seemed as though the SS was using him to gather information about other hackers in order to take them down. They succeeded in one raid and were trying to continue gathering evidence. I can definitely see where he would get confused or think that he was supposed to carry out these actions in order to help take down other hackers. However, he was making butt-loads of money at the time doing these hacks as well so I could see this also being a way to lessen his sentence.

Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/14/magazine/14Hacker-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=1

Doesn't add up (1)

Rashdot (845549) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780192)

He made $75.000,00 a year but couldn't pay off a debt of $5000,00?

He's convicted for millions of dollars worth of fraud, but can't afford a ticket to Turkey for his lawyer?

Can someone explain, please.

Re:Doesn't add up (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780818)

He made $75.000,00 a year but couldn't pay off a debt of $5000,00?

He's convicted for millions of dollars worth of fraud, but can't afford a ticket to Turkey for his lawyer?

Can someone explain, please.

Google for "frozen assets" or "impounded assets"

Re:Doesn't add up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780890)

Because they seized his assets.


What century do you live in?

Re:Doesn't add up (1)

lsamaha (2034456) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781162)

My reading of the story is that his debt was incurred prior to the Secret Service salary of 75k, and it's easy to imagine Gonzalez short on ready cash and concerned about his credibility (or safety) in the criminal community. It doesn't sound like the Secret Service was concerned enough to pay this relatively meager debt. The Lithuanian "carder" allegedly tortured in Turkey (Yastremskiy) is not the same man as the Secret Service employee (Gonzalez) convicted of credit card theft, and Turkish prison wards may be less sympathetic to requests for legal counsel than their American counterparts. This thread demonstrates how, to some, the blame for an individual misdeed is easily diverted as conspiratorial, and how doing so requires a willingness to blur important details of a case. Gonzalez' new line of argument (that he took people's money because the government made him do so) was likely dismissed by his original lawyer because it was unlikely, unprovable, or had little chance of success given what we are quite certain he did - debit innocent people's bank accounts for his personal use.

Culturally Illiterate? (1)

swrider (854292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780200)

Didn't he ever watch "Patriot Games"? He should have known he needed his piece of paper.

Re:Culturally Illiterate? (1)

sangreal66 (740295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781414)

Wasn't that clear and present danger?

Plausible deniability (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780208)

Politicians and bureaucrats hide behind plausible deniability. That is, they deny knowing about that which they created. The secret is not to actually order something done. The subordinate has to figure it out for himself. Then, when the subordinate gets caught, the politician can plausibly deny giving the order or, in fact, knowing anything about the foul deed.

Our hacker may indeed have been encouraged in his actions but you sure won't find any proof unless he was wearing a wire when he was talking to his handlers.

The hacker has no credibility. He's a criminal. No one will believe him even if he is telling the truth. The system works so well (to protect the guilty).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plausible_deniability [wikipedia.org]

Either not a collaborator or lucky as all hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780526)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthrax_letters [wikipedia.org]

Ivins' collaboration in helping justify Iraq got him a really painful "suicide."

Simple solution (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780668)

Keep him in prison, and throw the people from the Secret Service who "authorized" him in with him.

what are the laws for informants / uncover? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35780682)

what are the laws for informants / uncover?

uncovers cops break the laws all the time (just on a basic level of having a fake ID what happens in a traffic stop?) to much more as part of being uncover.

and informants are in some of same place what happens if a beat cops gets them with drugs on them at are part of being a informant? or they get fingered by the people they are informing one as part of deal to get off easy and not all cops know they are a informant / it's for a different crime?

It Gets Better .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35780790)

Now we can go after Barak-O-Vision, aka Barak Hussain Obama -- the former symbol known as Barry, for impersonating the President of the United States of America without express authorization.

Tee Hee Hee

The secretary (1)

Phurge (1112105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781064)

Has the secretary disavowed all knowledge of his actions?

If not, then I don't believe it

Details look confirmable (and OLD) (1)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781176)

RTFP =Petition? :)

Most of the things he attests to actually seem plausible. My guess would be he did participate, with their knowledge and consent on SOME operations. (He probably did very little, but is exagerating to make it seem that he was lead to believe he was now an ACTUAL agent himself)

But, where he fails is that it all look quite a while before the crime for which he was convicted. Like three years later...

Summary- I think he did turn informant on some earlier crimes, but did this well after.

Letter of Immunity (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781272)

IANALOC ( I am not a lawyer or criminal) , but in most countries except the shadiest ones, if you are directed by tge government to commit illegal activities, with it you also get a letter of immunity from prosecution which you carry with you on all times.

Does such a letter or written authorization exist in this case?

Re:Letter of Immunity (1)

edalytical (671270) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781644)

Yes, but Jack Bauer was too busy making his TV show and couldn't hand deliver the letter. Ask again in 24 hours.

Goverment + Hackers = Scapegoat (2, Insightful)

MrSenile (759314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35781468)

Having had... friends... involved in similar situations, I can attest to the case that if this guy worked for the Government, and was a scapegoat, they basically set him up for failure.

If he succeeded and was able to hide his tracks of hacking, the Government got their information and won.

If he failed and was unable to hide his tracks of hacking, the Government got partial information and won.

If the guy failed gloriously, the Government got what information they could, and have an instant scapegoat. Just add press. And won.

Win win for the government, and they can say at any time plausible deniability.

The friend in question I had was an excellent hacker. He hacked into banks for shits and giggles, went into government systems like a person would skip in the park. One day, he screwed up, the government found out, the guy disappeared. No jail time, no newspaper/press of him hacking. And all his college entrance and time spent at college disappeared as well. For all intents and purposes the guy never went to college, and I'll be surprised if there was anything other than a clean-record of the guy other than being born, his SS#, and place of residence. White-washed history for government signed-on hacker. And because of the dirt the government now had on this guy, he became Uncle Sam's bitch.

How the good ol' government gets these people to accept said positions of scapegoatness is fairly simple.

They find dirt on someone exceptionally good at computer espionage, or if they can't find legit dirt, they create some and seed it throughout the gold ol' internet and stack false records against them, at least in such a way to make it... difficult... for the target individual to live a decent life without cow-towing to the government officials.

Said person signs documentation that makes them 'legally' work for said government that is their 'get out of jail free' card. Except, the documentation doesn't really exist unless it is in the best interests of the government. Ergo, they have the hacker by the balls. The hacker continues to do a good job, and can cover their tracks enough to not point a finger at the government in -any way- or can hide their existance in such a way to be not backtraced, any and all possible ability to nail the guy goes up in smoke. All logs, all reports, disappear. If they can point their finger in anyway at either the hacker or the government, the 'get out of jail free' card becomes toilet paper and the guy's head goes to the block as the scapegoat.

May sound like bullshit, but as I've seen this shit first hand, it's not a pleasant experience.

It's not paranoia when they really are out to get you.

Just food for thought.

retroactive immunity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35781664)

Now the government needs to grant him retroactive immunity just like the telecom companies.

If you can't do the time (2)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35782128)

don't do the crime.

You got busted, you stoled people identities and ruined credit. ain't no one going to believe you, or be on your side. If you were smart, you would of kept records of your involvement with the government, so when the shit did hit the fan, like it was going to, then you got your ass covered. You didn't.

Sleep with your back to the wall.

Don't drop the soap.

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